Rose-Seed Tea 











I slumped through the doorway of our cramped staff kitchen and threw my hard hat onto the cheap, plastic table.

         ‘Having a hard morning, Ronnie?’ Shelly laughed at me from the sink.

         ‘Something like that,’ I groaned, dropping into a chair. ‘Can you believe the work they’re making us do out there?’

         ‘I’m in accounts,’ she said, dropping a teabag into her mug. ‘I haven’t got the first clue what they’re making you do out there.’

         ‘Dig!’ I said loudly, and she laughed. ‘Just constantly dig!’

         ‘Dig for what?’

         ‘I actually don’t know that either,’ I said. ‘I just get here at too-early o’clock, pick up my shovel and go where the foreman points me.’

         ‘Maybe you’re planting flowers,’ she joked. ‘You could be propping up the online flower industry.’

         ‘What?’ I frowned at her. ‘Everybody knows you have to go into a store for that.’

         ‘Tell me,’ she said, sipping at her tea. ‘Is your phone still connected to your wall?’

         ‘What does my phone have to do with—’

         ‘A store isn’t where to find standard roses for sale anymore,’ she laughed. ‘It’s all on the internet!’

         ‘Well,’ I said gruffly, ‘that’s just ridiculous. How are you supposed to smell the flowers, gently run your hand down the stem to check that it’s in good condition?’

         ‘I have no idea,’ Shelly admitted. ‘I think that they might just sell good quality flowers online.’

         ‘That would solve it,’ I rolled my eyes. ‘Say, you got another one of those teabags handy?’

         She nodded and began to make me a cup of tea.

         ‘You don’t gotta do that—’ I started.

         ‘Ah, relax,’ she waved for me to sit back down. ‘The longer I’m in here, the less time I have to spend with my manager telling me about how you can buy roses seeds online.’

         ‘Isn’t that what we’re talking about in here?’

         She froze, teabag hovering in mid-air above the mug.

         ‘Oh, god,’ she whispered. ‘I’ve been here too long.’